With a career spanning seven decades, renowned American photographer Lee Friedlander has produced an unrivaled photographic output documenting seemingly every aspect of the American “social landscape” (a term Friedlander coined), with a specific focus on creating books. “Books are my medium,” Friedlander has been quoted as saying.
Friedlander First Fifty provides an inside look at Friedlander’s first fifty books, featuring extensive commentary directly from Friedlander on his own work. The book contains photographs from each of the first fifty books, as well as descriptions, publication information, and most notably, interviews with Friedlander and his wife, Maria, conducted by Friedlander’s grandson, Giancarlo, and daughter, Anna, who together co-published the book. The result is the most personal and candid look at Friedlander’s life and career to date, as told to his own family.
Published over a fifty year period, from 1969-2018, the first fifty books describe the entirety of subject matter — from jazz musicians to factory workers to monuments to television screens — and genres — from self-portraits to street photographs to nudes to landscapes — Friedlander has explored.
Containing the largest collection of Friedlander’s own quotes ever published, Friedlander First Fifty offers a behind-the-scenes look at the photographer’s diverse oeuvre that contextualizes and brings new life to the work, for everyone from the casual art appreciator to the most ardent Friedlander fan.